The MLB Trade Deadline took place Monday, and as expected, a flurry of activity unfolded. However, the moves paled in comparison to the past week’s sports media developments. A reminder, if you’d like to have your individual or company’s news shared in this column in the future, please send any important details to us via email at [email protected].
Now on to the news we go!
Great news for Mad Dog Sports Radio morning hosts Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. The Morning Men have been tabbed by the Dan Patrick Show to fill in this Wednesday and Thursday. Cohen and Babchik will air on television on The Audience Network and NBC Sports Network. The only question is how many viewers will have the strength to hold down their breakfast after being visually exposed to a topless Babchik?
Changes are taking place in San Francisco. KNBR has parted ways with 680 evening host and update anchor Ray Woodson and cancelled the local 1050 programs, The Audible and The Ted Ramey Show. Woodson had been with KNBR for the past twenty years. He was recently hosting evenings when local play by play didn’t air on 680’s airwaves. On 1050, midday host Ted Ramey lost his daily talk show, but will continue to be heard on the radio station as the voice of the San Jose Earthquakes. Morning co-host Rudy Ortiz was also let go as part of the changes.
ESPN Radio is making a smart move tapping into their affiliates to feature some of their outstanding talent, while strengthening their relationships with local operators in the process. Case in point, 97.1 The Fan in Columbus weekday host and former Ohio State and NFL Linebacker, Bobby Carpenter, has been summoned by the network to join Dave Rothenberg and Eric Karabell on ESPN Radio’s Fantasy Focus football show. The program debuts when the NFL season begins.
Speaking of fantasy football, Nate Lundy announced on social media that the Fantasy Football Hour program he works on for Altitude Sports has received some great news. The show expects to expand into additional major markets. Lundy says further details will be provided soon.
Kirk Minihane of WEEI in Boston sat down with former program director Jason Wolfe for a fascinating conversation on his Enough About Me podcast. The first part of the interview reflects on Wolfe’s early years at WEEI and a number of key decisions that took place on his watch. The second part of the interview will be released soon. To hear Part 1 click here.
After adding Mike Jurecki last month to strengthen its midday show, 98.7FM Arizona’s Sports Station has made another move to increase their local offerings during evening hours. The radio station has added The Rundown with Luke Lapinski. The show is said to be opinion driven, fast paced, and offer a complete look at the biggest sports stories of the day. Phoenix sports fans can catch the program on non-local play-by-play game nights at 6pm MT.
That isn’t the only news that 98.7FM Arizona’s Sports Station has to share. A special congratulations is in order for Rod Lakin. After contributing in a variety of roles over the span of 11 years, Lakin has been promoted from Executive Producer to Assistant Program Director. In his new role, Lakin will take on additional duties including working closer with the digital content team and being further involved in the brand’s overall growth strategy.
Exciting news for 810 WHB in Kansas City. After 610 Sports announced last week it had been forced to part ways with the University of Kansas, the school wasted no time in announcing a new five-year deal with 610’s top competitor. The Union Broadcasting station will take over as the broadcast partner of the Jayhawks, airing both football and men’s basketball, as well as coaches shows on the radio station. For additional information click here.
Elsewhere on the college circuit, the Nevada Wolf Pack have found their next voice for football and men’s basketball. John Ramey has accepted the position and fills the void left behind by Ryan Radtke who joined Westwood One to call national games.
Staying in Nevada, ESPN Las Vegas 1100/100.9FM have hired a new producer. Chrissy Paradis is on her way to Sin City to contribute to the station’s weekday programs. Paradis previously produced Rob Dibble’s show in Hartford.
After announcing in May that they had reached an agreement to move football and men’s basketball broadcasts to 1280 and 97.5FM The Zone, Utah State and Learfield Communications have revealed that VP of radio operations and weekday sports talk show host Scott Garrard will serve as the school’s new play-by-play announcer for both football and men’s basketball. Former Utah State Offensive Tackle Kevin Whimpey will provide color commentary on football broadcasts. The school says an announcement will be made at a later time regarding the men’s basketball color analyst.
After ten seasons calling Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs baseball, Jon Schaeffer is heading west. The play-by-play announcer shared that he is joining XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego. Schaeffer will produce the midday program hosted by Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger.
Tim Donnelly has received an opportunity to advance his career. The former Delaware quarterback turned Nebraska sports director and host, has agreed to join ESPN Ithaca where he’ll contribute in a variety of ways including as a weekday talk show host. Donnelly is expected to start his new job in a few weeks.
WGR Buffalo Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio has created a new podcast titled SalSports…and Stuff. Capaccio says the podcast will feature guests from a number of different backgrounds and he hopes to feature a number of interesting stories for the benefit of the audience.
Congratulations to Danielle McCartan. The high school teacher and sports blogger earned an hour of air time last week to host on WFAN in New York. McCartan hosted the 3a-4a ET hour of the Thursday overnight shift.
95.7 The Game in San Francisco is adding to its bench. The radio station has brought in Jason Page to work part-time shifts.
Brian Custer is in great spirits after securing a new deal with FOX Sports to provide play-by-play this season for college football games. Custer will team with former NFL Linebacker Ben Leber to call a combination of Big 10, Big 12, and Pac-12 games.
The Athletic continues to add talented writers to its numerous local platforms. This week Seth Davis‘ new college basketball platform The Field House added Sam Vecenie. The Athletic CFB brought in Max Olson, and The Athletic Cleveland welcomed Aaron Portzline. The Athletic Chicago though informed Sam Highkin that his contract will not be renewed this September.
Last but not least, Michael Phillips has been named the new sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].
Desmond Howard: Paul Finebaum Now a ‘Cariacture’
“You can’t take anything he says seriously. You just can’t. It’s like they march him out there, they pull the string in his back, and he just starts spewing negative things…”
Both Desmond Howard and Paul Finebaum have been vocal on their stances about the Michigan sign-stealing allegations. However, Howard has shared his feelings about Finebaum, and they are not positive.
During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, the ESPN college football analyst had harsh criticism for Finebaum.
“Paul Finebaum is a caricature of a caricature of Paul Finebaum,”Howard said. “That’s what he is right now. You can’t take anything he says seriously. You just can’t. It’s like they march him out there, they pull the string in his back, and he just starts spewing negative things about Michigan. When a person does that repeatedly and you just know his shtick, you can’t take him seriously.”
Howard hasn’t been shy about defending his alma mater through the scandal. During an episode of College GameDay, the former Heisman Trophy winner told colleague Pete Thamel to “put your big boy pants on” after the reporter moved his segments on the program to inside Michigan Stadium after threats from Michigan fans were deemed credible enough that he was in danger.
Joe Castiglione: I Accidentally Hung Up on the Hall of Fame When They Called Me
“It was the most agonizing 40 to 60 seconds for that call to come back that I’ve ever experienced.”
Longtime Boston Red Sox radio voice Joe Castiglione was announced as the winner of the 2024 Ford C. Frick Award Wednesday, which is awarded by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to one broadcaster each year for excellence in the broadcasting medium.
However, the call from the Hall to Castiglione didn’t exactly go off without a hitch.
During an appearance on WEEI’s Gresh and Fauria after the announcement was made, Castiglione revealed he accidentally hung up on the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“They said, If you are the winner, we’ll call between 10:30 and 12 o’clock on the day of the announcement. If you’re not selected, you will hear nothing’,” Castiglione said. “And this morning, I was watching the clock. I tried to ride the exercise bike and stretch, and all those kinds of things to sort of divert attention. And then at 11:21, that call came in.
“People that know me know I’m a technical putz. And when the phone rang, I saw the 607 area code and knew it was Cooperstown. I figured that was the good news. But instead of hitting the speaker button so my family could hear it, I hit the red button that hung up on the call.”
As Gresh and Fauria laughed uproariously, Joe Castiglione explained the torture of the moment.
“It was the most agonizing 40 to 60 seconds for that call to come back that I’ve ever experienced,” he said.
Mike Stone on Streaming Services: ‘It’s All About Money’
“…The problem I have is to not be able to watch your local teams without multiple streaming platforms.”
On Tuesday night, there was frustration abound for some Detroit sports fans as they tried to watch Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans basketball games, along with the Detroit Red Wings taking the ice in the NHL. Although the basketball teams lost, the Red Wings were able to solidify a 5-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, moving their record to 6-1 since playing two games in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the league’s International Series. Mike Stone was watching, but with an additional cost incurred.
All of these games were on streaming services and required consumers to have a subscription in order to watch the action. Since Mike Stone subscribes to the Disney bundle, he is able to access Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, giving him the ability to watch Tuesday night’s Red Wings game. The only reason he has Peacock is because it comes with his subscription to Xfinity. Moreover, he shared that he is aware that people just paid for Peacock to watch Michigan and Michigan State football games during the college season.
“Coming up, there’s going to be some NFL playoffs – there’s going to be a Wild Card game that’s going to be on Peacock,” Mike Stone said Wednesday morning on 97.1 The Ticket. “Are you willing to pay for a Wild Card game? If the Lions are in it, they’ll show it locally but whatever.”
“I’m kind of at my limit on this seriously,” Stoney and Jansen with Heather executive producer Tom Millikan replied. “Last night, you couldn’t watch any of the teams play unless you had streaming platforms. I’ve accepted Amazon Thursday Night Football; it’s become a routine…. This has all turned into you end up paying more for all this garbage than what you paid for cable.”
Stone agreed with this point, questioning whether cutting the cord has truly saved consumers any money. Co-host Jon Jansen added that people still pay for their home internet using cable providers, another way for these outlets to obtain revenue.
“The only thing cable has right now is live sports,” producer Greg Hargrave said. “That’s the only thing they have over streaming services.”
Jansen proceeded to recollect on an experience of trying to sign up for NFL Sunday Ticket without purchasing a subscription to YouTube TV and how it was complicated enough that he gave up after 20 minutes of trying. While he does not want to watch every single game around the NFL, he wants to have the flexibility to choose to watch a contest when he wants to. Looking at the YouTube TV iteration of the out-of-market broadcast package, Stone has heard that people like it better because of the options it provides users.
“But that’s a product that you paid for before; it was just on satellites instead,” Tom Millikan said. “….The problem I have is to not be able to watch your local teams without multiple streaming platforms; [it] is just a turnoff and I’m not doing it.”
Under the new media rights deal the NFL began this year with its broadcast partners, Millikan feels that the diffusion of coverage is ultimately rendering increased profits. Furthermore, he wondered why Peacock was awarded a playoff game instead of Amazon, an inquiry to which Mike Stone replied that he did not pay enough money.
“It’s all about money,” Stone said. “It’s corporate America, baby!”
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